Brexit is looming large, and business owners who haven’t already embraced the challenge of Britain’s departure from the EU should really begin to re-evaluate their approach when possible.
For companies that deal directly with EU countries, the to-do list may seem a bit daunting at the present time. New customs regulations and trade tariffs, combined with alterations to supply chains and changes to freedom of movement, will surely affect the way business matters are dealt with.
Although the principles of supply and demand will remain, and the business world will keep turning, companies that feel Brexit may impact on their operation should still be looking into preparatory measures.
One saving factor is the likelihood of a transition deal being worked on by Theresa May. Although this will give companies more time, it’s still highly advisable prepare accordingly so no sudden announcements will affect company output.
Freedom of Movement
One of the biggest fears comes with the end of freedom of movement to and from the remaining 26 EU countries. Some companies have been reliant on EU migrants since the bloc was expanded in 2004, notably in such industries as agriculture, factory work and hospitality.
However, with more migrants now entering the UK from outside the EU – who of course don’t have ‘freedom of movement’ rights – there’s no reason why migration from the EU will suddenly drastically decrease. The pound has shown strong signs of stabilisation as well.
If you still wish to hire EU workers specifically, the changes may require you to offer them employment before they enter the UK. Consider ways of amplifying your job searches abroad and how interviews can be conducted via Skype for example.
If you are concerned your company will now face skilled shortages, you may also need to pay more in wages to attract the best talent or look at increasing investment in training schemes for existing workers.
The way of dealing with custom declarations will change when the UK leaves the single market. Business software is likely to need updating once this happens, ensuring it can communicate with both the UK and EU customs technology.
Another priority should be obtaining Authorised Economic Operator status if applicable – a certified way of complying with security standards and simplifying trade abroad. However, this process can take up to a year and require mounds of paperwork.
Your supply chain may also be affected when the UK officially leaves the union on 29 March 2019. Contact your suppliers and enquire if their expected plans will affect the existing arrangement. Likewise, consider how border controls, tariffs or non-tariff barriers could alter your business model.
Although the majority of existing EU law will be copied into UK law, certain regulations may be altered – for example, rules regarding ePrivacy regulations. You may need to sift through all contracts that relate to existing EU agreements and undertake a legal audit to spot any potential risk factors. Further consideration may be needed for intellectual property rights and copyright law that may not include protection within the UK.
Some EU firms may look to ditch British companies due to the added bureaucracy of Brexit. However, by proving you’re prepared and fully compliant with the new requirements, bilateral trade agreements with EU countries are more likely to continue unimpeded.
So, instead of approaching Brexit with trepidation, look at the potential new opportunities it can bring from all over the world. For any more advice on this matter, please feel free to get in touch with us today so your business is fully prepared for the challenge.